Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah has said that Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is fully geared up to defend its ‘minority’ character in the apex court. While renowned philanthropist and US-based entrepreneur Frank Islam urged the fellow alumni to step forward in defending the historic character of the institution.
Lt Gen Shah, who was speaking at the Sir Syed Memorial Lecture at the Consulate General of India, an annual event organised by AMU alumni UAE here on Saturday, said the minority character of the university was a matter of life and death.
“AMU is prepared to fight a legal battle against any attempt to change its ‘minority status’. I have not lost any battle in my life and we are confident we will win this battle as well,” he added.
“The status concerns the education and advancement of the socially and economically backward section of Indian society, Muslims. The government has retracted from its earlier stand. We will fight our cause in court,” he said.
In 1920, the college was transformed into AMU through an act by the Indian Legislative Council and all assets of the college were transferred to it.
“The name Aligarh Muslim University was chosen to convey to the Muslims that this institution was theirs and it will uphold their values and right to education,” Lt Gen Shah said.
“However, we only grant admissions on merit and follow no religious preferences,” he said.
On the occasion, US-based entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Frank Islam asked fellow alumni to come forward and help empower Muslims of India through education. Islam, who has donated $2 million for establishing a management complex at AMU, said poverty is real enemy of the community and it should be addressed.
“Poverty is entrenched in the Muslim community of India and it can be overcome only through education. We have to use our empowerment and join hands with AMU to empower others and help Muslims become the first class citizens of India,” he said. (MM)